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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Darren Kidd/Press Eye Payne has sliced through defences from fullback over the last two weekends.
# Selection dilemma
Ulster's try against Toulon showed again why Jared Payne is better at 15 than 13
Payne is in line to make his Ireland debut this autumn.

THE AUTUMN TESTS are less than two weeks away now and the main selection quandary facing Joe Schmidt is who to pick at outside centre to replace Brian O’Driscoll.

Jared Payne is able to make his debut for Ireland this November and having played the majority of the season so far at 13 – under the eye of Schmidt’s assistant Les Kiss no less – he appears to be the frontrunner for the jersey at the moment.

However, many fans and pundits think Payne is better suited to 15 and would rather he not be shoehorned into outside centre just because there is a vacancy.

After two weeks of the Champions Cup, it is hard to dispute that logic. Against both Leicester and Toulon, Ulster’s backline looked blunt until Payne made the switch to 15 – then he used used his counter-attacking ability to manufacture nice tries for Ulster.

In the Leicester match, he ghosted through the defence after an errant kick from the home side, in what was a perfect example of how to launch an attack when the opposition kicks loosely.

payne

And late on against Toulon, Payne picked a perfect line off of Tommy Bowe’s run to split the French side’s defence.

TheUAFC / YouTube

Payne’s ability to hit the line on an angle at pace and to spot mismatches when returning kicks is very reminiscent of Geordan Murphy at his best, so it might be a waste of his talent to put him in the centre.

Where do you think Jared Payne should play this autumn? Should he be O’Driscoll’s replacement at 13?

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